Tuesday, January 31, 2017

FREE MISC. LESSON - "Spring Garden Following Directions Activity"

by Kathy Babineau
Kindergarten - Grade 3

Spring Garden Freebie!

This is a quick and easy multi-step directions activity. This cute set includes:

*Cover page
*Reproducible b/w garden coloring worksheet
*Directions page

Concept words include: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Last, All, Below, Center.

And....if you like this, here's a full year of following directions activities - theme based for every week of the school year!

Following Directions All Year!

and another:
Following Directions All Year Intermediate

Thanks for checking it out!

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FREE MATH LESSON - “Puzzling through Place Value”

by Talented in Third
2nd - 5th Grade

Enjoy this fun way to practice place value, with fun interactive puzzles that can be used as a whole class, small group, or enrichment activity. 

Practice Common Core Skills with these printable puzzles. Great for fourth or fifth grade students who are reviewing place value or second or third grade students who need more practice in understanding different ways to represent a number. 

If you like this, see my other puzzle product: Multiplication Puzzles

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Daybreak in Alabama: Classroom Conversations on Civil Rights

When I get to be a composer | I'm gonna write me some music about | Daybreak in Alabama | And I'm gonna put the purtiest songs in it | Rising out of the ground like a swamp mist | And falling out of heaven like soft dew. --Langston Hughes

Twenty-six years ago, I walked into a classroom in the education building on campus at the University of Arizona.  As a public school music teacher hoping to enter back into the classroom, I had recently gained acceptance into the School of Education in a program call Language, Reading & Culture.  I'll never forget that first class, because the professor challenged my thinking and my beliefs at every turn. I spent that semester looking at children's literature and textbooks with a critical eye. As a result, I changed the way I looked at the texts I use with my students, and I began to think about what it means to be culturally responsive.

Twenty-six years later, here I am, still thinking. It's important to me to use literature that is diverse. I purposely choose texts that represent a variety of cultural experiences and voices.  I work in a very diverse setting, one in which over 70 different languages are spoken. It is imperative that my students can empathize with characters and feel empowered by the struggles of those characters.

One of my favorite ways of exploring complex texts with my fifth graders is to delve into poetry. Poetry is complex. When you think about it, the imagery, the use of figurative language, the hidden meanings, poetry is the mother-of-all complex text types. And one of my favorite poets to explore with my students is Langston Hughes.  I've shared many of Hughes' poems with my students, but this year I chose to focus on "Daybreak in Alabama." It's one of my personal favorites, and it's packed with vivid descriptions. What follows here is a story about 24 fifth graders and their journey of understanding "Daybreak in Alabama."
I'm gonna put some tall tall trees in it | And the scent of pine needles | And the smell of red clay after rain | and long red necks | And poppy colored faces | And big brown arms | And the field daisy eyes...      ---Langston Hughes

The Beginning 

As reading teachers, we know that the brain learns best when connections between concepts and ideas are discovered.  That knowledge is why we stoke the fires of anticipatory set and schema. To share "Daybreak in Alabama, " it was important to me that my students have background knowledge of who Langston Hughes was so I began by sharing this:

This picture book provides a  beginning biography for elementary-aged children.  We read about Langston's early family struggles in childhood, his yearning for a home and a sense of belonging. It helped my students to connect with this poet as a child and character.  Reading this gave them a point of reference for our poetry readings to come. This book talks about poverty.  It also shows how Hughes' father had to move to Mexico to practice law due to racial prejudices and restrictions in the United States.   It portrays Langston Hughes' remarkable family history, telling the reader about his ancestors' abolitionist activities and successes.  I like this book because it does not gloss over the struggles he faced, but it also does not make those struggles or his childhood poverty the focus.  The author provides a balanced view of Langston Hughes' life.

Of black and white black white black people| And I'm gonna put white hands | And black hands and brown and yellow hands | And red clay earth hands in it |Touching everybody with kind fingers | And touching each other natural as dew... ---Langston Hughes

Unpacking the Poem

We began reading the poem using a close reading technique. We did this over two days!  It went like this:
  1. I read the copy while students listen or follow along in their copy of the poem. We discuss what jumps out at them. We talk about why those things stand out.  We record them on chart paper or on our SMART board. 
  2. We read the poem together a second time, and they follow on their copies and highlight any new observations or thinking. We record our thoughts again.
  3. Small group reading. My students sit in small table groups.  Each table group reads a section of the poem aloud. I ask them to share their thinking about how Hughes breaks up his lines.  Ahead of time, I had prepared the text of the poem written in paragraph form, with the line breaks removed.  We read it this way, too and talk about how the line breaks make us read Hughes' words differently.  We explore changing the line breaks. We record our thinking again.
  4. Finally, individual students volunteer to read lines of the poem.  And I ask, "What is Langston's message to the world? Why did he write this poem?"
The percolation time between our close readings helped my students delve more deeply into "Daybreak in Alabama."   Initially, they talked about the imagery...the fields, the way he describes the setting. They drew pictures of the imagery.  This was their surface-level understanding.  Think about an elevator. This was the ground floor of understanding.

On day two of the close read, my kids took notice of the lines about hands. They decided that Langston wants everyone to get along with each other, and that's why he writes about black and white hands. And then, they asked these questions: "Why does the poem take place in Alabama? Why not California? Why Alabama?"  and  "Why daybreak?  Why not lunch time?"  Those questions led us to the next floor of understanding on day 3. 

On the third day, I explained to my kids that sometimes when readers ask questions like theirs, and they conduct research to try to figure out the answers.  I tell them that I was intrigued by their questions, so I did a Google search for Alabama in the 1960s when the poem was published, and I found something.  They were on the edge of their seats.  I had found a short youtube documentary video about the March on Selma, and I showed it to them.  They watched in stunned silence.  I stopped the video right before Bloody Sunday. Our classroom erupted with reactions of horror, sadness, anger, and disbelief.  After debriefing the video, we revisited the poem.  We recorded our thinking in our sketch journals.

On day four of our exploration, I asked students to complete a "CSI" thinking routine from Making Thinking Visible (Ritchart, Morrison & Church).  They had completed this routine before and knew what to do.  They talked about the mood of the poem at their tables and assigned a color to the poem. Many chose yellow, saying the poem was hopeful and yellow is the color of the sun.  Some chose blue, citing it as the color of peace. Some chose green because they associated it with new growth.  Next, they reviewed their thinking entries from the previous days and created original symbols for the poem.  Their symbols had to represent the message of the poem. Finally, they drew images to illustrate the poem.  

We blew up their symbolic representations using crayon resist with water color, and students reflected on the meaning of "Daybreak in Alabama." 


The power of choosing literature that is culturally diverse is in the student conversations and understandings that develop.  "Daybreak in Alabama" began our exploration of civil rights, and it paved the way for what was to come in our classroom.  At the end of this poetic exploration, David asked the question, "How could they just stand there and do nothing?"  And my mind went to Elie Weisel's words, "The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference."  The questions that came out of "Daybreak in Alabama"  have led us to try to answer David's question with our future classroom readings. 

Last week, three of my boys came to talk to me after recess about a bullying situation they have been witnessing. Another student who has some challenges was being mocked and ridiculed at recess.  As all three faces (black and white) looked up at me, one of them said, "It's not right what's happening. It needs to stop, so we decided to tell."  And I answered, "I'm so glad you decided to take action."
In that dawn of music when I | Get to be a composer | And write about daybreak | in Alabama. ---Langston Hughes

Postscript: If you follow the link imbedded in the 3E's Blogging Collaborative logo below, you'll find a free resource to help you explore "Daybreak in Alabama" with your students. Please enjoy.

Welcome to the initial post of the 3 E's Blogging Collaborative. On the last weekend of each month, my fellow educators and I will be telling our classroom stories about our explorations of empathy, empowerment, and equity with our students.  It is our mission to explore these topics together, but also to provide FREE ideas and materials for others wishing to do the same.  We hope to build a bank of materials and ideas to support these classroom endeavors.  We also hope you'll be stopping by again to engage in the conversation.

FREE SCIENCE LESSON - “Night and Day Engaging Full Lesson with Edible Food Integration!”

by dannerk
Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade

This is a complete lesson to teach night and day at the kindergarten level, but could probably be used in other grades as well. It includes a step-by-step lesson with 5 e's, standards, objectives, materials needed (description), intro, lesson, assessment, conclusion. The lesson is great for all styles of learners. It incorporates basic literature integration, followed by students working in groups and pairs to sort objects as belonging to "night" or "day", has an edible model idea for students to enjoy, and culminates with songs. Students will love this science lesson.

night and day edible lesson by dannerk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Misc. Lesson - "Social Skills for Teenagers"

by Kathy Babineau
7th - 12th grade

This kit contains 52 cards. (24 Talk About It cards, 16 Role Play cards, and 16 Social Media cards). These are great for small social skills groups. The vocabulary and topics included are best for middle school and high school students.

The Talk About It Cards cover a wide range of topics from asking someone to go out on a date to asking for a raise at work.

For the Role Play cards, I like to have multiple teams role play the same scenes, because there may be several correct ways to “act out” the situation. It is also fun sometimes to role play the situation in an inappropriate way and then discuss why it may be hurtful or inappropriate or offensive. Be sure to brainstorm and discuss how body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice and word choice are all important to communication.

The Social Media cards focus on texting, cell phone etiquette, online social sites and computers.

To use this kit, simply print out all sheets and then cut apart and laminate (optional) the cards, and you are good to go! They are all in black and white (except the cover page) to go easy on the color copying budget.


Kathy Babineau MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

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Kindness and Digital Citizenship

By Deann Marin of Socrates Lantern

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to help bring empathy, empowerment and equity to every classroom out there. With that in mind, I’ve joined a group of compassionate, caring, and creative educators to bring you monthly posts highlighting ideas for developing the 3 E's in your classroom and school community. Our goal is to make it easier for you to include these values in your every day teaching by offering ideas and free materials to support your teaching endeavors. Now, more than ever, nurturing EQUITY, EMPATHY & student EMPOWERMENT is crucial for all our students.

Years ago, before the onset of digital technology, an educator’s job 

basically consisted of  teaching academics. Social Skills were learned at home. It was the job of the parents to teach their child to say please and thank you, to respect adults, to treat others the way they would like to be treated,  not to talk to strangers  and so on. Now-a-days, a teacher’s job has changed in so many ways. A large amount of our charges have not learned how to relate to others in the world around them. So we’ve had to set up Character Building lessons to help them learn empathy for others,  how to deal with that bully,  to wait their turn, and so much more.

I can only speak for myself, but I bet that many of us have not even thought about speaking with our students concerning using good manners when commenting  on that blog post, or stating opinions on social media sites.  Not only do our classes need to be educated about online etiquette, or netiquette, but they have to learn to be careful about what kind of information they share online, there are many predators. It is important for them to understand that they should never give out personal information, unless they know who they are talking to and it is someone that they can trust. It’s a scary world out there and now it is getting smaller due to the world wide web.  Say hello to Digital Citizenship.

Topics to be stressed when teaching Digital Citizenship or (Netiquette)

1. Before you post a blog, or a comment, read it out loud, see how it sounds. Remember that you are communicating with another person who cannot see your face, or read your visual clues. What you mean to say may not always come across the way you meant it. So you need to be careful of the tone that you’re using. Remember, treat others the way you want to be treated, with compassion, generosity, kindness and a spirit that shows forgiveness.. 
2.  Don’t type in all capital letters, it looks like you’re yelling and you will turn people off. 
3.  Remember that whatever you say online will be there forever. This is known as your digital footprint. You don’t want something that you’ve written online to come and haunt you years later. If you're not sure about what you've written, ask yourself how you'd feel if someone said that to you.
4.  If you’re posting facts about something, make sure that it is
5. Make sure that what you write is your own. If not, give credit
    to where you got it from.
6. Be safe, don’t give out personal information.
7.  Whatever you write online is subject to criticism, there are people who may not agree with you and wil say so, and sometimes not in a nice way. Try not to get offended by what they say. If you reply back, do it constructively and with kindness.
8.  Be careful when you post a selfie, you could get negative
     comments, there are many cyber-bullies out there.
9.  If you come across a cyber-bully, stand up to him/her, 
     don't let the things they say frighten you. Do report this 
     activity to an adult
10. Bullies are not happy people and they want to scare you
     and or make you feel bad. Help them by showing compassion, 
     they may  not get it from anyone else.Think about how good 
     you'll feel by not sinking to their level.
There is a wealth of information on the net to help improve digital citizenship. I'd like to share a simple acronym that I found online which your students should learn to ask themselves befoe postng on the web.  The acronym is THINK....which many people do not do.

                                              T...Is it true?
                                              H...Is it hurtful?
                                              I....Is it illegal?
                                              N...Is it Necessary?
                                              K...Is it kind?

An instructional technology coordinator, Jay Sonnenberg, in Katy,TX, came up with a wonderful way to teach empathy to his students through the use of cell phone text messaging. He created a "Text it Forward," initiative in which students were to text positive affirmations, and encouraging messages to their friends. This was done through a text messaging service called "Remind." As you can well imagine this worked like a charm bringing everyone closer and created a more caring environment. This is what Sonnenberg said about the program, "It really helps our students see that our entire district is in this together and we have a common goal of being productive members of our online community.” His students created this video that I'd like to share with you.

Here's a poster that you can use in your classroom to remind your students that they should always strive to be a positive and empathetic digital citizen.


Until Next Time

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FREE SOCIAL STUDIES LESSON - “Geography Jumpers: Passport”

by Wise Little Owls
Pre-Kindergarten - 2nd Grade

This passport is a free item that goes along with my Geography Jumpers series. There are a total of 26 countries that explore the country, the continent it's located in, its flag, and many other facts, including its culture and what school is like. 

For a preview of what you'll get with each country, please download the free country of Peru:

Geography Jumpers: Peru

Related Products

Geography Jumpers: Spain

Geography Jumpers: Bundle 1

Geography Jumpers: Bundle 2

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

FREE MISC. LESSON - “Multiple Intelligence Questionnaire for Students”

by Fox Creations
2nd - 6th Grade

Find out how to best reach your students! Knowing this information can allow you to get them more engaged in learning and get them motivated!

Multiple Intelligence Theory suggests there are different ways we learn and process information. Each person possess all the intelligences. These intelligences usually work together in complex ways. The intelligences interact with each other and don’t exist by themselves. The Multiple Intelligence Theory can help students become empowered learners. With this checklist students can determine their strongest areas and help them tap into deeper levels of motivation and learning. This checklist can help teachers see what their students are strongest in and the ways their students process the information best. This will allow them to provide opportunities and lessons that work naturally with these intelligences.


This product is copyrighted and intended for you to use in your classroom only. Sharing with other teachers or entire school district is prohibited.


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Friday, January 27, 2017

FREE SOCIAL STUDIES LESSON - “Freebie: Presidents writing prompts & quick edits”

by Kathleen Applebee
5th - 11th Grade

Freebie: Celebrate the presidents of the United States with these 4 writing prompts and quick edits. File contains 4.PDFs containing a photograph and quote by Presidents Carter, Kennedy and J. Q. Adams. These are just 4 of a set of 51 available for purchase. Photographs included were taken at a display near the Washington Mall. Several presidents are featured twice. 

Suggestions: Post the quick edits over the corresponding writing prompt so students can flip the edit sheet up to see the properly written quotation. Choose a few to set up as an anchor activity or a gallery walk or as stations and have students rotate through. Can be used as a game by covering the picture and name and having students guess who said the quote. Laminate for use year after year.

Check out these products:
Presidents bulletin board (51 pages with writing prompts)
The Roosevelt Assassination Attempt (mystery role play activity)
Who Assassinated JFK? (mystery role play activity)
Famous African Americans bulletin board (1700 to 1899, includes writing prompts)
Famous Black Americans bulletin board (1900 to present, includes writing prompts)
Famous Americans Power Point

Free Christian drama resources at Fools for Christ 
Free interactive Bible games

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

FREE MATH LESSON - “Ordering Numbers”

by Fun monkey bars
1st - 2nd Grade

Number flashcards with different backgrounds and with heart shapes to improve ordering while having fun.

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